By Chris Newton
We had a need for a new piece of office equipment. In fact, we'd put off buying it for some time because everyone was too busy to do the research. And then, 'out of the blue', we got contacted, by not one, but two sales people offering us this very item. So we decided to not put it off any longer.
The first sales person was the hard selling type. Short on facts and liable to 'bend' the truth to get the sale. We told him we'd 'think about it'.
The next sales person was an amazing contrast. He quietly and methodically asked questions about our needs, and didn't even mention price, as our first 'bargain basement' fellow had. Instead, he demonstrated good knowledge of his brand. But he had an amazing and impressive knowledge of the competitive brands as well. He didn't 'knock' them. He simply explained why his solution was superior.
Needless to say, salesperson number 2 got the sale. The other guy with the cheaper model and special discount deals must wonder why. It was fascinating to be a 'spectator' and watch the dramatic contrasts in sales approaches in action.
At the time, we'd been on a lease plan for another piece of office equipment with a leading supplier for nearly two years. And in that time, nobody from that company ever asked us about our needs for the second piece of equipment we'd just bought.
At first, I was going to phone them and say, 'Hey, we've been approached by such and such. Do you want to come and show us your product too?' But then I thought, 'why should I bother!?'.
Now OK, this is so basic. Surely, no one these days misses the opportunity to explore the full needs of their clients, do they? Or do they?
If you have clients using your products or services, how comprehensively and systematically do you follow through on introducing them to the other things you do?
Partners in accounting firms and in insurance broking firms are often guilty of this. Perhaps it's because their view that this cross referral process to other services is somehow 'unprofessional' or counter to their ethics. Or perhaps (and more likely), it's just not in their corporate culture to ask! The fact is, as much as they may assume otherwise, their clients don't have any idea of the total range of services the firm provides!
From a due diligence perspective, they owe it to their clients to comprehensively and systematically introduce all their services to their clients. And given that they have an amazingly high level of trust from the client, and a high degree of ethics, they are in a perfect position to add value to their clients. And in the process, add handsomely to their bottom line.
That's the theory, but it just doesn't happen. There's just so much opportunity being lost.
Now, back to your business. Do you have a cross referral process to introduce other products and services to your clients? Before you answer, let me qualify that. Does every person in your organization interfacing with your clients, have a structured process that enables them to comprehensively and systematically introduce all the services you provide? And it must occur systematically. Having some of your people do it some of the time when they think about it, is not what I'm talking about. It has to be a systemized methodical process that just happens.
I have consulted to many hundreds of businesses over my two decades and more in marketing, and I have seen tens of millions of pounds left lying on the table because companies didn't have a system for asking for more business in an educative and problem solving way. Not only are they losing money, they're not serving the clients to the fullest extent.
Comprehensively serving clients is value adding! Not having a system that facilitates this not only DIS-serves the client, the lack of a cross referral mindset in your organisation can literally cost you a fortune.